Last week someone close to me hurt my feelings, and it sent me into this crazy downward spiral of emotions. I thought I dealt with that, but then I had other ups and downs, and realized that I still had some kind of strong uneasiness going on.
I finally put my finger on it. The incident had triggered the Doom Gloom in me. Doom Gloom is to be distinguished from Doom and Gloom, which is being characterized by a glum disposition. Doom Gloom is a strong foreboding that something got broken, and is not going to work, and life is going to stink!
As I studied out the passage for this week’s blog, it gave me some insight into my Doom Gloom, and led me to a powerful way to deal with it.
The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side. Mark 8:11-13
These verses talk about how the Pharisees tried to get Jesus to show them his creds.
This bummed Jesus out. Why? I mean, it seems reasonable to ask him to prove who he was. Others in the Bible were given signs. Gideon asked for and received a sign with the fleece. God gave Moses a sign through his staff.
To understand this, we have to understand how God views “testing.” Look at the time when Jesus was tempted in the desert. The devil took him to a high place and told him to throw himself off the edge, because the scriptures said the angels would catch him when he did. Jesus replied by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.“
The scripture Jesus used refers to Exodus 17, when the Israelites were in the desert and came to a place where there wasn’t any water. They freaked out and ganged up on Moses, telling him he had better come through with something to drink! Moses told them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?” (Ex 17:2)
So then we want to know how it was that they were putting God to the test in this situation. The end of the story tells us, “they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” (v. 7)
When the Israelites couldn’t see God, they couldn’t have faith. The Lord had helped them in so many ways. Yet when they lacked water, they started doubting that he was among them. They had to have a sign, physical evidence.
The Pharisees were doing the same thing. Really, as Jesus said, it wasn’t just the Pharisees. It was the whole generation. Everyone wanted to see immediate physical evidence, over and over again, that the Lord was with them in the person of Jesus. Otherwise they couldn’t have faith.
And I want to make one more point here. In the case of the Pharisees, asking for a sign was probably bogus. They already had their minds made up that he wasn’t from God. In Mark 3, Jesus had been doing miracles and the teachers of the law said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” They saw signs, but to them the signs meant that Jesus was working with the power of the devil. Somehow all of their religious knowledge made them so wise in their own eyes that they couldn’t see the truth.
And all this made Jesus sigh deeply. He was sad that a generation which had a history of God being among them still couldn’t have faith. He was sad that the religious leaders had closed the eyes and doors to their hearts.
The lesson for us, of course, is not to fall into either category. We need to have steadfast faith and open hearts.
First, just like the Israelites, we need to steadfastly believe that God is with us because we, too, have a history of him being among us. Look at these verses:
- Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” Acts 14:17
- For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20
- “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? Job 12:8-10
- Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. Isa 40:22
I know when I think over my life, I can see the mile markers of God taking care of me. He orchestrated a way for me to know him and attend a wonderful church. He provided a husband who would be my partner in faith, and made my marriage immeasurably more than I could have asked or imagined. Over the years he’s given me a hope and purpose, an amazing job, success in raising my children, stronger mental health, and a mission that is a dream come true. He’s worked in so many ways. I could go on and on.
Yet when something goes wrong, I’m still like the Israelites, doubting that God’s going to take care of me. I get the Doom Gloom. I have to fight this!
Second, we need to constantly work on humility so that we won’t be so wise in our own eyes that we miss the truth.
“No!” we think. “We’re not missing the truth. We know it and we’re living by it.” We think we’ve figured out God.
But God works in so many ways that we don’t expect. And we have blind spots. We still need to learn and grow. We’re not there yet.
I certainly have grown in my convictions over the years. I’ve found out that I need to stay humble and open. I need to keep going back to the scriptures to gain deeper insights. I need to pray for wisdom and ask God to show me the truth. I need to realize that although I’m pretty sure I’m right, I might be wrong.
Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them. Prov. 26:12
In the end, this passage about the Pharisees trying to test Jesus is changing my life. I’m loving it! Why? Because after I studied it out, I asked myself, “How would my day be different if I really believed that God is with me?” I saw a lot of ways. It was convicting.
So I started remembering and believing that God is with me in the different things I do. I found myself being less timid and more giving. I believed God was with me when I checked out at the store, and I had a great chat with the clerk. I believed God was with me when I got with someone who needed encouragement, and I found I had more to say. I believed God was with me when I was tired and emotional and wanted to hide, and I was able to push through. I believed God is with me when I prayed, and I prayed for more impossible things.
Let me encourage you to do the same! It is SO HARD when things go wrong and we get the Doom Gloom. We so badly want to test God and have him show us that he is among us, instead of looking to ourselves to develop our faith muscle.
Let’s repeat over and over to ourselves, “God is with me.”
Satan wants us to freak out. Satan wants us to be blind in our own conceit.
But we can live with strength.
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession. . . II Cor 2:14a